Although it is a common assumption that textiles made from natural materials such as cotton and silk are more environmentally friendly than textiles made from man-made materials, the case for polyester fibre proves this to be incorrect.
Polyester is made from petroleum, a non-renewable resource that creates damaging environmental impacts during the extraction process. However, when considering the whole lifecycle of the fibre, from the raw materials, through the use phase to the end of the lifecycle, polyester is not as environmentally damaging as believed.
It has lower energy impacts during the washing and cleaning phase and is also completely recyclable at the end of its life. Polyester textile recycling has been developed using the clear plastic water bottles, or PET as the raw material, a source of plastic that would otherwise go into landfill.
The most common form of textiles made using recycled polyester is fleece, a knitted pile fabric often used by outdoor clothing companies to make jackets.
Patagonia are the most well-known promoters of polyester recycling and have partnered up with Teijin, a Japanese company who have developed their own closed-loop polyester recycling system. Large clothing retailers in the UK, like Marks & Spencer have also started to use recycled polyester in some of their clothing ranges, although there are currently no successful consumer recycling schemes available in the UK.
Nara Loca Abadi is a recycled plastic specialist that concerned about the earth and environment by promoting the use of recycled PET flakes, recycled PET chips, recycled PP & HDPE granules to various plastic and polyester manufacturers.